Ambyr Childers (Ray Donovan, We Are What We Are) and Beau Mirchoff (Awkward) have been cast as recurring in NBC‘s upcoming series Aquarius, a gritty 1960s drama about a cop (David Duchovny) who goes undercover to track Charles Manson and the Manson Family before their infamous murder spree. Childers, repped by McKeon/Myones Management and UTA, will play Susan Atkins, who lures Emma’s boyfriend away as part of Manson’s plan to recruit her. Mirchoff, repped by APA, Velocity Entertainment Partners and Ginsburg Daniels, will play Rick Zondervan, a fictitious UCLA student who takes his girlfriend to a drug party in Laurel Canyon where they run into infamous Charles Manson.
Miguel Sandoval has been upped to a series regular on NBC’s single-camera comedy Bad Judge. It centers on a hard-living, sexually unapologetic woman (Kate Walsh) whose life on the edge is constantly in balance as she also happens to be a judge in the criminal court system. Sandoval, who guest starred in the pilot, plays Judge Connors, her boss on the San Bernardino County bench, who gives her extra work because he believes in her as a judge. He is repped by Greene & Assoc. and manager Ben Levine.
Comcast has become so big and complex that its earnings are almost always mixed — and Q2 was no exception, although the combination of soft revenue growth with strong profits sent shares up 2.1% in pre-market trading. The cable giant reported net income of $2.03B, +16.1% vs the period last year, on revenues of $16.84B, +3.5%. Analysts expected the top line to come in a little higher, at $16.95B. But earnings at 76 cents a share handily beat the consensus forecast of 72 cents.
NBCUniversal also seemed to have a split personality with operating cash flow +20.4% to $1.43B while revenues were +0.3% to $6.02B. The main Cable Networks operation saw sales grow 2.6% to $2.48B with affiliate fees +4.2% while ad sales fell 2.2%. Still, by controlling costs, the unit’s operating cash flow rose 6.3% to $914M. The Broadcast Television unit told a similar story: With rising retransmission consent fees, its revenues increased 4.9% to $1.8B. But ad sales fell 1.7%, which the network partly attributes to having fewer hours of The Voice than it had last year. Still, broadcast operating cash flow increased 16.2% to $240M reflecting, the company says, “a slight increase in operating costs and expenses.” Theme Parks proved to be NBCU’s most consistent performer despite the increased costs for Orlando’s The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley attraction which opened this month. Attendance and spending were both up, resulting in a 12.8% increase in revenues to $615M with … Read More »
UPDATE, 8:57 AM: ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC as well as the cable networks have just broken away from normal programming to cover President Obama‘s remarks live from the White House on the latest from yesterday’s Malaysia Airlines disaster over the Ukraine. Obama said one U.S. citizen was among the 298 passengers killed from what is suspected to be a surface-to-air missile launched by pro-Russian rebels. He called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and demanded a credible investigation, saying a UN investigation is already underway with Ukraine and Russia expected to cooperate fully. Read More »
NBC loves using its talent competition stalwarts, The Voice and America’s Got Talent, to preview its new shows. This September, the network will air a sneak preview of new crime dramedy The Mysteries of Laura following the season finale of America’s Got Talent on Sept. 17 at 10 PM. The series starring Debra Messing will have its time period premiere the following Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 8 PM. Mysteries of Laura, from Warner Bros. TV, Berlanti Prods. and Kapital Entertainment, is the only light drama among NBC’s new hourlong scripted series for next season and the only procedural, making it a good candidate to air behind the comedic AGT. It stars Messing as Laura Diamond, a brilliant NYPD homicide detective who balances her “Columbo” day job with a crazy family life that includes two unruly twin boys and a soon-to-be ex-husband — also a cop — who just can’t seem to sign the divorce papers.
At the end of its day at Summer TV Press Tour 2014, NBC brought out four of the showrunners on returning drama series to take questions. Matt Olmstead (Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D.) said that when he was working on a cable program, “I missed doing 22 [episodes],” while John Eisendrath (The Blacklist) said, “Having never done a 12-episode order, I’m totally jealous.”
Eisendrath was set up to vent about the fact that neither The Blacklist nor its star James Spader scored Drama Series Emmy noms on Thursday. He said he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t disappointed. “I think he’s completely deserving of it. The competition is fierce, that’s the reality — TV is thriving, there’s that much competition. I was disapointed, but I understand how it happened and what happened. We have to continue to do the best shows we can and hope we’re on long enough for people to reconsider,” he concluded, diplomatically.
All the showrunners were asked a certain number of beauty-pageant questions, like ‘what qualities are necessary in a showrunner?’ Jason Katims (Parenthood, About A Boy) went with “embrace the collaborative nature of making a television show”; Eisendrath went with “not to panic..and be open to new ideas.” Asked what was the most difficult part of the job, Olmstead said, “Trying to figure out what … Read More »
Faced with a series title like A to Z, it’s no surprise TV journalists were like dogs chewing a bone at today’s TCA panel on the show, demanding that producers and cast of the new NBC comedy series reveal whether the show will be done in one season.
No, EPs Rashida Jones, Ben Queen and Will McCormack explained patiently. The idea is that each season will complete a phase in the relationship of new couple Andrew (Ben Feldman) and Zelda (Cristin Milioti). No, the title doesn’t mean each season will feature a new couple.
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TV critics seem to have reservations about NBC’s new comedy series Bad Judge. The single-camera comedy stars Kate Walsh as Rebecca Wright, a tough judge serving in the Los Angeles County courts, whose private life is pretty wild. In the comedy, co-created by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay and Anne Heche, Wright meets an eight-year-old boy whose parents she’d put in the hoosegow.
Walsh said she loved the idea of playing a character who, in the first four pages of the script, wakes up with a hangover, gets a pregnancy test and is revealed to be a judge. “It was super appealing,” she said, describing her initial reaction to the role as the sensation of having her nose pressed up to a candy-store window.
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Telenovela actress Angelica Celaya will join the cast of NBC’s new supernatural thriller Constantine as the character Zed, the show’s producers revealed at today’s TCA panels.
Executive producer Daniel Cerone — appearing on the panel with EP David S. Goyer and cast members Harrold Perrineau, Matt Ryan (who plays the title role) and Charles Halford — described Zed as a character with “an interesting dark past” and called her a perfect foil for the Constantine character. “Zed is intuitive, she can detect bulls***,” he said, and Constantine is a “bulls*** artist.”
The psychic Zed character will serve as a replacement of sorts for the character of Liv Aberdine, played by True Blood actress Lucy Griffiths, who is leaving the show. The network had previously announced that the Zed character, who appears in the Hellblazer and Constantine comics series on which the series is based, would be aded during early episodes of the show.
The producers said that there was no need to reshoot the pilot without Griffiths. In Constantine’s life, Goyer said, “characters drop around him like flies” and having the character leave the show seemed “kind of consistent with the character.”
Goyer called Constantine “one of the great characters of modern literature” but added that the success of the 2005 movie Constantine with Keanu Reeves “didn’t hurt.“ He says when he was given his choice of comic-book characters for a TV franchise, he chose Constantine. “He is the best the … Read More »
In NBC’s new series The Mysteries of Laura, Debra Messing stars as Laura Diamond, who according to NBC materials is “a brilliant NYP homicide detective balancing her ‘Columbo’ day job with a crazy family life.” But what, journalists were asking today, is “mysterious” — or even unusual — about a woman juggling family and career in 2014?
At today’s TCA panel on her new show, Messing was joined by other cast members Laz Alonso, Josh Lucas and Janina Gavankarand, as well as the male executive producers Jeff Rake, McG, Greg Berlanti and Aaron Kaplan. They were quick to respond that exposing the working-mom dynamic is not the point of the show.
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“In the pilot, a couple of times, the word ‘f***’ is used,” a TV critic said, kicking off the Q&A session for NBC’s new comedy Marry Me at Summer TV Press Tour 2014. “Is that it?” series creator David Caspe asked, after waiting in vain for the “question” part of the TV critics’ comment. The critic elaborated: “Are you going to be writing it this way, and…let Standards cut it out?”
“Come on! Do it!” urged cast member Tim Meadows, who plays one of Casey Wilson‘s gay dads on the comedy series. “I haven’t thought about it much,” Caspe answered. “Maybe a little bit, here and there, and then I cut it.”
There’s been a lot of talk about pushing broadcast-content boundaries during NBC’s portion of the semi-annual tour. Entertainment division chairman Bob Greenblatt talked about the challenges broadcasters face in trying to compete against cable at the Emmys, given broadcast TV’s time and content disadvantages.
And, during a session for new drama State of Affairs, executive producer Joe Carnahan said his goal for the series was to push content boundaries to create a drama that would “out-do what cable has become, (which is), let’s face it, the standard bearer.” To which, his fellow State of Affairs EP Ed Bernero, responded, “We have to use a little bit different language, and can’t show sex as much,” but the … Read More »
Katherine Heigl’s appearance at Summer TV Press Tour 2014, to discuss her return to series TV, was as dramatic as you’d expect. The hall was packed with media to hear Heigl talk about her new NBC series State of Affairs, in which she plays a CIA analyst who presents the U.S. President’s daily briefing on security issues facing the country. Heigl, you’ll remember, is the actress who became a major star on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, then left that series to focus on her film career — but only after alienating some on Grey’s for, among other incidents, telling the media she had not submitted herself for Emmy consideration one season because she did not think she had been given good enough material.
Then there was that Vanity Fair interview she gave after filming feature comedy Knocked Up, from writer/director Judd Apatow, starring opposite Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, and Leslie Mann, in which Heigl said she enjoyed the work, but not so much the film, because it was “a little sexist,” “paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.” For those comments, the media described her as an “ungrateful traitor,” among other yeasty comments.
Before Heigl’s Q&A, a TV critic asked NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke why Katherine’s mother, “stage mom” Nancy Heigl, was scheduled for that Q&A and listed as one of State of Affairs’ executive producers. Salke explained that Katherine came with … Read More »
The TV Academy probably should take another look at the categories for its Primetime Emmy Awards, academy chairman/CEO Bruce Rosenblum told TV critics this morning at the TCAs summer press tour after TV critics began to flog him and the academy for not doing a better job “policing” which categories series and actors are competing.
TV critics nicked him for a number of this year’s nominees — one TV critic, for instance, noted, “it’s nice Treme got nominated, but it’s in the miniseries category and it’s been on the air about five years.” Another expressed disbelief the academy would let Shameless submit itself for consideration as a comedy series for a season that included a storyline “in which a baby overdoses on cocaine.” And harsh words were said about “certain” actors who’d submitted themselves as guest stars “even though they have regular series contracts.” Plenty more where that came from.
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It’s become a billion-dollar fundraising fixture on British TV, but now NBC says it will collaborate with Comic Relief U.K. and Funny Or Die to bring Richard Curtis‘ Red Nose Day charity special to the United States. Curtis will serve as an executive producer for the NBC telecast, which will feature sketch comedy, standup, music and more from a variety of celebrities. Online humor site Funny or Die will create original content for the three-hour live show, which is set for next May and will be performed in front of a live audience.
“I am incredibly proud that NBCUniversal is broadcasting Red Nose Day,” Paul Telegdy, NBC’s President, Alternative and Late Night Programing, said in a release. “Once in a while in our jobs, we get to do things that can change lives and entertain at the same time.”
Other executive producers will be Hamish Hamilton and Ian Stewart of Done + Dusted Productions, which will produce. Hamilton will also direct. Red Nose Day in the U.K. has been going for a quarter century now, and has become one of the highest-rated Friday night shows on the BBC while raising more than $1 billion in donations. The NBC event will raise money for what the network called “established” charities working in both the U.S. and elsewhere around the world. Those charities and the show’s performers will be announced later.
NBC is in “an active creative discussion” for more of The Maya Rudolph Show, either as a weekly series or a series of specials, NBC’s president of alternative Paul Telegdy said during the NBC executive session. The variety show, starring the Saturday Night Live alumna and produced by SNL boss Lorne Michaels, started as a special that aired on May 20 behind The Voice. That special is looked at as an “imperfect first episode,” Telegdy said.
A discussion is ongoing about the show’s future structure and format, including the quotient of music performances versus sketch comedies. “It is a show we were really proud of,” Telegdy said. “On balance, we really enjoyed the experience. Added NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt, “We were very encouraged by the ratings.” In a Q&A with Deadline last month, Michaels was optimistic about the show’s future.
Also today, Telegdy was asked about the upcoming season of Celebrity Apprentice, which has been in the can for awhile but has not been scheduled yet. No update on a premiere date yet, Telegdy said. Celebrity Apprentice‘s most recent season aired in the spring of 2013. Greenblatt noted that the network has taken long hiatuses with other long-running reality series, like The Biggest Loser. “You look at what your needs are,” he said.
At its executive panel, NBC revealed more details about its Bill Cosby multi-camera comedy project, which was put in development in January. It will be created by Mike Sikowitz and Mike O’Malley and produced by Sony TV, where Sikowitz is under an overall deal, NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke said. Sikowitz is also tied as a showrunner to the Sony TV-produced new CBS comedy The McCarthys, so I had heard that O’Malley would be writing with Sikowitz supervising. Actor O’Malley, who is eyed for one of the show’s leads, had been active on the writing side, starting with a staff writing job on Shameless, and has written a couple of pilots. As for the premise, it is a multi-generational family show, Salke said.
“Bill plays the patriarch of the family, dispensing his classic wisdom on relationships and parenthood, with three daughters, husbands and grandchildren,” Salke said “It’s a classic big extended family sitcom.” The hope is for O’Malley to play one of the husbands, she added. The show is eyed for next summer or fall 2015.
The Bill Cosby project is part of NBC’s commitment to the multi-camera genre, Salke said. Both Salke and NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt spoke of the difficulty getting multi-camera comedies on the air that stick, having just unsuccessfully tried with… Read More »
Christopher Walken has been cast as Captain Hook in NBC’s live broadcast of Peter Pan. “He might be the first tap-dancing Hook you’ve ever seen,” NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt told TV critics this morning at Summer TV Press Tour 2014.
Walken, who is currently seen dancing in Clint Eastwood’s screen version of Broadway hit Jersey Boys, began on the Broadway stage in musicals, and has appeared in a number of film musicals, including Hairspray, and the Steve Martin film Pennies From Heaven. He’s well known to NBC’s audience, what with his having hosted Saturday Night Live seven times — where he sometimes performed song-and-dance numbers. Walken won the Academy Award for his role in the Oscar-winning The Deer Hunter, and is also known for his performances in such films as Sleepy Hollow, Pulp Fiction, Wayne’s World, True Romance and Annie Hall. He did his own choreography for the memorable Fatboy Slim video Weapon of Choice, for which he won the MTV Video Music Award for best choreography.
NBC has yet to say who’s been cast in the lead role of Peter Pan, though Greenblatt admitted that they’d approached Kristen Bell who was not available. Last January, following the successful live staging of The Sound Of Music, NBC announced its followup musical — James M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, which will be broadcast Dec. 4. The Sound Of Music‘s exec producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will return in that role … Read More »
Kicking off NBC’s TCA presentation, NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt announced the renewal of summer reality series America’s Got Talent, American Ninja Warrior and Last Comic Standing. The pickups join the recent renewal of medical drama Night Shift, which turned from a summer burnoff to a breakout, tying CBS’ Extant as the highest-rated new series debut this off-season.
Greenblatt underscored NBC’s ratings success during the season, reminding everyone that the network finished 2013-14 as No.1, and did so again for the summer. NBC has won every week other than the two that ABC had with the NBA Finals, which Greenblatt in a lapse called “the NBC finals.” Last Comic Standing returned for an eighth cycle this summer after a four-year break, the second time the show has been revived. AGT is in its ninth season, averaging a 3.1/10 in adults 18-49 and 12.4 million viewers. Last Comic Standing is averaging a 1.7/6 in 18-49 and 5.1 million viewers. American Ninja Warrior, which is shared with corporate sibling Esquire, is delivering a 1.8/6 in 18-49 and 5.3 million viewers.